Matt Miazga's late goal lifts the US to a 3-0 win, win group B

Matt Miazga's late, group-winning goal gives the US a 3-0 win over Nicaragua.

Matt Miazga's late goal lifts the US to a 3-0 win, win group B
The USMNT wins group B via Matt Miazga's late goal. | Source: Kim Klement, USA TODAY
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Nicaragua: Lorente; Quijano, Garcia (Pavon, min. 69), Copete, Veliz (Nino, min. 69); Barrera, Cadena, Lopez, Errington; Galeano, Peralta (Hurtado, min. 46)
USA: Hamid; Zusi, Miazga, Besler, Villafana; McCarty, Bedoya, Pontius, Corona (Morris, min. 67), Rowe (Arriola, min. 62), Dwyer (Agudelo, min. 74)
SCORE: 0-1, min. 37, Corona. 0-2, min. 56, Rowe. 0-3, min. 88, Miazga.
REFEREE: Melvin Matamoros (HON). Peralta (min. 15, Yellow), Lopez (min. 42, Yellow), Copete (min. 51, Yellow), Corona (min. 59, Yellow), Copete (min. 85, Red)

It was a night where the United States not only had to win, but they had to win by at least three goals in order to win their group. Barring a miraculous four goal win, Nicaragua were already eliminated from the tournament. 

A Joe Corona goal in the first half gave the US one step towards the needed result. They ran into a few road blocks in the second half as the USMNT had two penalties saved. A Kelyn Rowe near post goal and a diving header from Matt Miazga just minutes from the final whistle gave the US the needed 3-0 win, meaning they were the winners of group B. 

What does winning the group mean for the US? Well, it means not having to face Costa Rica in the quarterfinals. Thanks to Matt Miazga's late goal, the USA will now wait to see if they face either El Salvador, Honduras, or Jamaica (unless Curacao wants to spice things up). 

Good, but not enough

Joe Corona found himself on the scoresheet against Nicaragua. | Source: Daniel Seco
Joe Corona found himself on the scoresheet against Nicaragua. | Source: Daniel Seco

Around fifteen minutes in, new man Dom Dwyer got a few chances on net but each time he was denied. A few minutes later Kelyn Rowe's effort went agonizingly wide, but the US kept up its pressure. 

The US finally broke the deadlock when Alejandro Bedoya broke down the right side and played a ball across the box that fell to Joe Corona, whose shot was deflected into the bottom left corner. 

Bill Hamid, making his third appearence for the USMNT, was called into action soon after the Yanks pulled ahead. Bismarck Veliz sent in a confusing ball that almost snuck in over the DC United man, but he was able to punch it over. 

La Azul y Blanco found themselves with a few opportunities near the end of the first half, but they were unable to claw themselves to level terms. The US headed to the locker room needing at least two goals in the second half for them to win the group. 

The Yanks leave it late

The US wasted no time getting chances in the second half as a cross was sent in to Dom Dwyer, but his header could not sneak in. 

Minutes later, Dwyer found himself pulled down in the box. The referee pointed to the spot, awarding the penalty to the hosts and an opportunity to get one step closer to winning the group. Dwyer stepped up to take it, but his penalty was saved by Lorente

Pressure wouldn't stop for the home team (technically) as a free kick was given to the US a few yards outside of the box. Graham Zusi poked it back and left it to Dwyer, but his shot was blocked by a sea of defenders. 

Hope was not gone, however, as pressure lead to a turnover deep in the Nicaraguan half. Dwyer scrambled to get a pass to Bedoya, who played a nice ball to a sprinting Kelyn Rowe who punched it in past Lorente. They were now one goal away from winning the group. 

Once again the home side fought back immediately after conceding. Chris Pontius cleared the ball towards the middle where Josue Quijano fired a powerful shot that went past the right post.

Twenty-minutes into the second half the US were awarded yet another penalty as Cadena was whistled for a handball in the box. This time, Corona stepped up to take the penalty and to get his second goal. Lorente guessed correctly once again and saved Corona's poor penalty, and the US still needed one more goal. 

In one of the few moments he faced a shot, Hamid parried away the effort by Daniel Cadena and was able to gather it before anyone could tap in the rebound. 

Five minutes from the full ninety, the US were given a boost as Luis Copete got his second yellow card. The US had a man advantage and a few minutes to try and get the goal they needed to win the group. 

The ensuing free kick saw defender Matt Miazga connect with Zusi's free kick. The Chelsea man's header slid past Lorente and the US let out a massive sigh of relief. 

What's next?

Nicaragua are officially eliminated from the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup with this result.

The US loves to keep their fans on the edge of their seats. They will now wait to see the result of El Salvador and Jamaica. Their quarterfinal match will be on July 19 in Philadelphia